South West Chilli Beef with Jalepeño Cream Cheese Stuffed Peppers
So here we are, a week into 2014, with resolutions in full swing, new leaves having been turned over, home improvements being planned and some of us even a year older!!
It was the first day back to school for us yesterday and I celebrated with an (unintentional) hour and a half run! Like a typical blond, I assumed that as the tow path in Richmond was clear, it would be fine to run along the river anywhere. What I hadn’t anticipated was that the river at Hampton Court had not only submerged the benches on the lower path, but about half a mile on, the upper path disappeared underwater as well. If I wanted to keep my feet dry I had no choice but to turn back and retrace my steps. Which I did, until I found an intriguing looking gate in the wall bordering the river. Being the inquisitive type, I decided to have a look and discovered that it led into wild parkland that I didn’t even know existed!! I was suddenly in unfamiliar territory, about to undertake an unexpected adventure in unexplored terrain! And I have to admit, I felt a tiny bit excited!!. I then proceeded to run across a golf course on a huge detour and got completely lost…..well not exactly, but I had no idea where I was or where I would come out!! I ended up having to get the bus some of the way home as I was utterly exhausted…..it happens to the best explorers you know!!
So with yet more rain beating down outside, I specifically wanted to post a warming, flavourful, two fingers up to the weather, sort of recipe! I believe this fits the bill and cleverly incorporated some spice for the grown ups and none for the kids….check out my clever trick!!
1 tbsp bacon fat or tallow
½ - 1 tsp Aleppo chilli flakes
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
500g pasture fed beef mince
2 large cloves garlic - minced
2 tsps cumin
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsps pomegranate vinegar
1 can organic chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sweet chilli sauce (home made or paleo friendly)
1 tbsp sun dried tomato puree
70g organic tomato puree
2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
For the peppers
150g organic cream cheese
1 tbsp jalapeño chilli’s chopped (mine were from a jar) – use more or less depending on how explosive you want your peppers!
200g chiquiño peppers (mini red, orange & yellow peppers to me and you!)
Melt the bacon fat in a large frying pan, add the onions and sauté until translucent. Then add the herbs and spices. Cook on a low heat until the flavours have had a chance to develop.
Add the minced beef to the onion mixture followed by the garlic. Allow beef to brown for 5 mins or so.
Then add the salt, cocoa and cumin powder, combine well.
After a few more minutes begin to add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer on a low heat while you prepare the peppers.
Wash and slice tops off the chiquiño peppers, scoop out the seeds and set aside.
Empty the cream cheese into a bowl and mix with the chopped jalapeño’s.
Using a very small teaspoon, stuff the peppers with the chilli cheese.
Then empty your rich, thick chilli beef into a medium sized casserole dish and stud it with the chilli cheese stuffed peppers. They should remain vertical, but almost submerged in the chilli.
Bake in the oven for 30 mins and serve. The chilli peppers give a great kick to the beef and the children just skipped the spicy peppers. Everyone’s happy!!
NB The peppers were firm, if you have the time and inclination, you could, after washing and de-seeding, rub them with olive oil and pre-roast them for 15 mins, before allowing to cool & stuffing.
Serve with Courgette ‘rice’ (grated courgette stir fried in butter)….yum!